Florida emphasizing need to establish run early vs. Seminoles

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Florida running back Lamical Perine jumps to avoid a tackle against Idaho last week at Florida Field. [Lauren Bacho/Staff Photographer]

The Gators have had issues at quarterback since Tim Tebow left the program following the 2009 season, but the offense hasn’t had nearly as many issues when it comes to the backfield.

Florida’s running backs have once again held their own in 2018, as the Gators have rushed for 2,254 yards through 11 games, with 18 of the team’s 40 touchdowns having come on the ground. The Gators have rushed for 590 yards and six touchdowns since the 38-17 loss to Missouri — a game that saw Florida register a season-low 113 rushing yards.

“I wish we could play Missouri again tomorrow, man,” UF junior linebacker David Reese said. “They still got us again this year.”

Meaning the offensive formula heading into Saturday is clear: establish the run to open up the offense for quarterback Feleipe Franks.

“It’s going to be very critical. Once we establish the rush, I feel like everything else will open up, like any football game,” Gators right guard Fred Johnson said. “We establish the run, open up passing lanes and stuff, I feel like the game can take off from there.”

Outside of the defensive line, Florida State shouldn’t present much of a challenge to the Gators — if they stay true to what’s helped lead the team to the cusp of a New Year’s Six Bowl.

“Who wouldn’t want to be in a New Year’s 6 bowl after going, like, 4-7 last year? It’s just something we’re striving for just to get back on track and get Florida where it used to be,” UF running back Lamical Perine said. “Everybody is going to be looking at that, of course. If they say they’re not looking at it, they’re lying. Yeah, they’re lying.”

Florida’s offensive line, now with its third coordinator in as many seasons, has gradually improved now that offensive line coach John Hevesy has returned to the program. Facing a Florida State defense that ranked No. 35 in the country in rush defense, Hevesy said the team expects the ’Noles will look to rotate frequently among the front seven with the hope of fooling Florida’s offensive line. If the Gators can neutralize the FSU defensive line, the rest of the game could be a piece of cake — and an invitation to a New Year’s Six Bowl in January.

“We just have to do our job. We have to get off the ball. We have to make contact. They have some pressures in moving around a bunch,” Hevesy said. “So, it’s just keeping our feet, keeping our base, covering them up, and we have great (running) backs. We need to give them a little hole to get going, and get to that second level.”

9 COMMENTS

  1. I’m going to the game on saturday. I have a problem. I’m disable and have to use a walker to get around. What I would like to know is how to find a parking place close to the stadium. Can anyone help me with this problem. Thanks. Go Gators!!!!!!!! Good Day…………..

  2. ”Florida State racked up 478 yards of total offense. Francois threw for 322 yards while running back Cam Akers produced his first 100-yard rushing effort of the season in their game last week.”
    So, it’s on the Florida Football team to BE UP for this game, period! The ‘Noles are the nation’s leader in consecutive bowl appearances. Which is on the line, too. So the nasty ‘Noles will have more than pride to play for Saturday. ‘IF’ these Gators come out thinking they’re just going to show up in Tally and win, well they’ll get their Orange & Blue butts handed to them… again! Much like Mizzou did to them in the Swamp after the U.G.A. game. So Gators, it’s time to set up ”the new order” in Florida college football, where Florida Gator Football is at the top in the state of Florida. It’s on you fellas now! So, GO GATORS! THUMP THE DAMN ‘NOLES!

    • Mizzou told the world they would stand up 8 guys on d to beat the spread and whatever they did worked so I prefer your analysis to the newspaper on this one. I get the 1.6 second pushback explanation of why we couldn’t throw at Missouri but I hope Frank’s will be better at buying time this go around. Nervously thinking he will.

  3. Establishing the run would be great. The reality is though that if the FSU D coordinator is worth a sprinkle of salt he will have seen that the way to stop our offense is to stack the line, play your safeties like extra LB’s and dare Felipe to throw the ball. Very few if any teams have much success running the ball against an 8-9 man front. Like it or not this game is most likely on Franks to show he can hit a few passes early on and make them loosen up their LB’s and safeties. Then we will be able to run it down their throats. If Felipe comes out cold and can’t hit the side of a barn with the ball like against Mizzu, I expect we will see Jones in the game early on. I think CDM is too wise to make the same mistake twice and leave him in there hoping he gets better. I hope he comes out on fire and has his best game of the year, cause if he does we will spank that A%$. I HATE THE NULLS !!!!!